Social autopsy for identifying causes of adult mortality
Gupta, M.; Kaur, M.; Lakshmi, P.V.M.; Prinja, S.; Singh, T.; Sirari, T.; Kumar, R.
Plos one 13(5): E0198172
ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203 PMID: 29851982 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0198172
Verbal autopsy methods have been developed to determine medical causes of deathforprioritizing disease control programs. Additional information on social causesmay facilitate designing of more appropriate prevention strategies. Use of social autopsy in investigations of causes of adult deaths has been limited. Therefore, acommunity-based study was conducted in NandpurKalour Block of Fatehgarh Sahib District in Punjab (India)for finding social causes of adult deaths. An integrated verbal and social autopsy toolwas developed and verbal autopsies of 600 adult deaths, occurring over a reference period of one year, were conducted in 2014. Quantitative analysis described the socio-demographic characteristics of the deceased, number and type of consultations from health care providers, and type of care received during illness. Qualitative data was analyzed to find out social causes of death by thematic analysis. The median duration of illness from symptom onset till death was 9 days (IQR = 1-45 days). At the onset of illness, 72 (12%) deceased utilized home remedies and 424 (70.7%)received care from a clinic/hospital, and 104 (17.3%) died withoutreceiving any care. The number of medical consultations varied from one to six (median = 2). The utilization of government health facilities and qualified allopathic doctor increased with each consultation (p value<0.05). The top five social causes of adult deaths in a rural area of Punjab in India. (1) Non availability of medical practitioner in the vicinity, (2) communication gaps between doctor and patient on regular intake of medication, (3) delayed referral by service provider, (4) poor communication with family on illness, and (5) perception of illness to be 'mild' by the family or care taker. To conclude, social autopsy tool should be integrated with verbal autopsy tool for identification of individual, community, and health system level factors associated with adult mortality.